Spirited Cork keep heads to claim vital win
Bohemians 0 Cork City 1
The game will quickly disappear from the memory of the supporters that braved the elements but John Caulfield will hope that it gains importance in the long run.
This is the type of fixture that his Cork City charges need to win if they are to halt Dundalk's three-in-a-row attempt.
Last year, their only two wins in the capital came when the title race was done and dusted; draws in the first phase of the campaign cost them in the long run.
This term, they have already dropped points in Sligo and Galway. Dundalk's form, which includes a 100pc record away from home, has put the pressure on the Leesiders to keep up with a relentless pace.
On another night, a draw would have represented a perfectly acceptable result from this fixture with biblical rain, gusty conditions and a bobbly pitch making this a real battle. And that's before considering a Bohemians side that has more in the locker than their results this season would suggest.
To their credit, Cork grabbed enough control of proceedings to turn that tie into a win and stay within four points of Dundalk at the top of the table.
Bohs do have some tidy players and were the better team in the early exchanges here but a run of five games without a goal in all competitions shines a light on a major reason for their struggles.
Cork overcame a difficult spell to start imposing themselves on the match with Greg Bolger, their important midfield acquisition, forcing a stop from Dean Delany ahead of the half-time interval.
The genesis of that break was the constant threat provided on the left side from Karl Sheppard, yet the decisive moment just after the resumption came from the other flank. Central attacker Sean Maguire drifted right to pick up a clever pass from Bolger before squaring across the box where central midfielder Garry Buckley had ghosted into space to apply the final touch.
Bohs boss Keith Long had no option but to shuffle his pack in search of inspiration. He made all three subs before the 70th-minute mark with Aymen Ben Mohamed, Mark Quigley and then Ismahil Akinade sent in with a view to picking the lock.
However, the Phibsborough side were unable to really probe into opposition territory as Cork dug in to restrict space and threatened to add to their advantage on the break with Maguire and ex-Bohs man Steven Beattie lively throughout.
With Bohs struggling to get a shot on target, their task was stiffened by a rash challenge from Quigley that connected with Sheppard and forced ref Rob Rogers to produce a red card.
That gave Cork a helping hand to see out the final ten minutes but, in truth, they looked reasonably comfortable before that incident. A speculative shot from Akinade was the closest that Bohs came to a leveller.
With seven losses from 12 games, they have a lot of work to do. So do Cork, but this is a step in the right direction.
Bohemians - Delany, Pender, Prendergast, Mulcahy, Fitzgerald; Lopes, Wearen; Buckley (Quigley 64), Byrne (Ben Mohamed 57), Kavanagh (Akinade 70); Kelly.
Cork City - McNulty, Dunleavy, Bennett, Browne, O'Connor; Bolger, Buckley; Beattie (Healy 90), Holohan (McSweeney 88), Sheppard; Maguire (O'Sullivan 80)
Ref - R Rogers (Dublin)